How do I find my birth parents?

So you have decided to look for your birth parents but you have no idea how to even start your search.  I’m no pro at this but I can definitely share the resources I’ve gathered along the way.

Steps to finding your birth parents

  1. Talk to your adoptive parents.

    1. They may have information about your birth mother or father that wasn’t recorded and they may have even met with the birth mother and/or father at some point.
    2. Ask your adoptive parents for all the records they have from your adoption.
      1. You may find some clues in your paperwork.  You never know what you might find.  For example, a fellow adoptee told my mom that relinquish papers had to be notarized and the notary would keep copies of everything they notarized.  Those notarial records are now public record and kept at the county courthouse. Read more here.
  2. Contact the agency that handled your adoption.

    1. Request all the documents they can legally give you but in most cases this is just non-identifying information.
    2. Check here to see if your state is an open adoption state, if yours is, you can request your original birth certificate.
    3. Leave a letter for your birth parents with the agency if your birth parents ever contact the agency.
  3. Check to see if your state has a reunion registry and sign up.

    1. There are many adoption registry sites out there.  Sign up on all of them!
  4. Do some people searching

    1. If you were lucky enough to get some names from your parents or from the agency, search for them online.
    2. If you are an ancestry.com subscriber, there are public records that include names, place of residence and sometimes dates or birth.
    3. There are also people finder sites but again, you will have to pay.
    4. Ask for help – Seriously, search angels know how to find people using just a name.  It’s seriously amazing.
  5. DNA Test

    1. First test at Ancestry.com  Save 10% with this link.
      1. Best case scenario, your parents or siblings have tested as well and there really isn’t any detective work. Just make contact.
      2. You may have to do some sleuthing to find out how you and your DNA matches are related.  Once you can find out how you are related and through which line, you can start narrowing down to your branch of the family tree.
      3. Check out the following posts for help.  Finding Shared Ancestors / What is a mirror tree? / Five Mirror Tree Questions Answered
    2. Transfer your DNA data from Ancestry.com to FTDNA.com
    3. Test at 23andme if you don’t have good matches at Ancestry or FamilyTreeDNA
    4. Upload DNA data to GEDmatch.com
  6. Ask for help!

    1. There are search angels that will help if you ask for it.
    2. There are many Facebook groups dedicated to helping adoptees find their birth parents.

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